Mining industry faces labour crunch, volatility, high costs: Deloitte – by Lauren Krugel (Canadian Business Magazine – November 27, 2011)

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-publishing business magazine in Canada.

To view the report, please visit

The Canadian Press – The global mining industry is facing a severe labour squeeze, which means companies must be creative in finding enough talent to run their operations, says a report released Sunday by a major professional services firm.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. said there simply are not enough workers to power the huge growth expected in the mining sector — capital expenditures this year are estimated to be US$113 billion, 50 per cent higher than 2010 — and firms must look at unconventional ways to fill the gap, like doing more work remotely.

“Given the acute shortage of key talent, delivering on all these projects may be near impossible,” said the report, called Tracking the Trends 2012. Glenn Ives, Deloitte Canada’s Americas mining leader, said demographics are at the heart of the problem.

“There is a 20-year gap in the mining industry. If you think about it, mining was not that great an industry to join in the 80s and the 90s, and so there weren’t a lot of new graduates joining the mining industry in that time frame,” he said in an interview. Continue Reading →

DELOITTE NEWS RELEASE: Canadian miners face intensifying global challenges

Deloitte unveils top 10 trends for 2012

To view the report, please visit

Toronto, November 28, 2011 — Escalating social, economic, and political factors are forcing mining companies in Canada and around the world to incorporate more complex scenarios into their strategic planning, according to a new report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). Released today, the report – Tracking the trends 2012 – provides an analysis of the top 10 trends expected to impact the mining sector at an accelerated rate in the year ahead.

“Gone are the days when conversations about commodity prices were confined to industry analysts,” said Glenn Ives, Americas Mining Leader, Deloitte Canada . “As nations around the world industrialize and strive to improve their standards of living, mining has come to take a more central role on the world stage. And for mining companies, this greater visibility comes with greater responsibility.”

“The mining sector is facing a perfect storm of converging global forces,” said Jürgen Beier, Deputy Mining Leader, Deloitte Canada. “Confronted with unrelenting cost inflation, unprecedented commodity price volatility, ever-tightening regulation and mounting labour shortages, mining executives must be willing to seek unconventional solutions.” Continue Reading →

Keystone’s delay hurts Ontario too – by Frank Dabbs, Special to QMI Agency (London Free Press – Novmeber 26, 2011)

London Free Press

“What has changed, too, is the Canadian industry’s assumption
that environmental activism is just a nuisance with no major
political clout. … The issues that have ostensibly delayed
the pipeline are not the heart of the matter. Stopping $120
billion worth of oil-sands development over the next 25 years
is the object of the war.” (Frank Dobbs-London Free Press)

This month’s postponement of a decision on Trans Canada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline by U.S. President Barack Obama cynically removes a controversy from the 2012 presidential election agenda.

For Canada, including Ontario, it’s a game-changer that anti-oil sands activists are celebrating, but which has gob-smacked industry proponents.

What changed is the assurance of ready access to the U.S. crude-oil market. What has changed, too, is the Canadian industry’s assumption that environmental activism is just a nuisance with no major political clout. Continue Reading →

Will mines get [Michigan] state’s riches for a paltry sum? – by Tina Lam (Detroit Free Press – November 28, 2011)

Detroit Free Press

Part 2 of 2

Critics — and even a key state agency — say the state isn’t getting enough in exchange for the wealth of minerals about to be extracted from the Upper Peninsula.

The state has no severance tax on minerals, as it does on oil, gas and iron mines. The tax is a way to repay Michigan citizens for the value of underground resources removed forever from the state. The state also doesn’t auction mineral leases, as it does for oil and gas.

And finally, the state is getting only paltry sums from its future mines in fees and bonds for permits, potential cleanup costs and oversight.

Financial loopholes in mining are costing the state, some say

When Kennecott Eagle Minerals applied for a permit for its new mine near Big Bay, it paid what state law requires for its application fee: $5,000. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto hiring hundreds of workers in Canada because of modernization projects – by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press (Winnipeg Free Press – September 27, 2011)

MONTREAL – A couple of years after it laid off 14,000 workers around the world, global mining giant Rio Tinto has launched a mini hiring spree in Canada, mainly due to its modernization projects.

The Anglo-Australian company is actively searching to hire more than 210 workers for mining and manufacturing in alumina, aluminum, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide.

“We launched the campaign to help our ongoing recruitment efforts for our modernization and expansion projects,” Rio Tinto spokesman Bryan Tucker said in an email. Rio Tinto employs more than 13,000 people at 35 sites in Canada.

The company has turned to Facebook and YouTube, posting a four-minute promotional video showing operations such as the Diavik Diamond Mine, Iron Ore Company of Canada, Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, and Rio Tinto Alcan.


Daniel Jaeb is an Underground Miner at Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories. Local, northern and Aboriginal, he received training and certification in underground mining through the North’s Mine Training Society. He enjoys the many pastimes that come with living in Canada’s North.

Continue Reading →

[Michigan mining] U.P. mines seeing a resurgence as companies hope to cash in – by Tina Lam (Detroit Free Press – Novmeber 27, 2011)

Detroit Free Press

Part 1 of 2

BIG BAY — In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s drill, baby, drill. The drilling that began there in September is not for oil, but for gold, silver, copper and nickel. In a resurgence of mining in the region whose mineral heyday was more than a century ago, foreign companies are finding rich bodies of ore they hope to mine for billions of dollars.

New technology and higher prices for metals are making mining profitable again, spurred by increases in demand for high-tech gadgets such as smartphones, kitchens full of stainless steel appliances and hybrid cars — all of which use the metals that can be found in the U.P.

Three new mines are either under way or planned, with more possible. Also, an abandoned mill to process ore is expected to reopen. Mineral rights on more than 1 million of the U.P.’s 7 million acres have been leased by companies prospecting for metals. Continue Reading →

The Dark Lord of Coal Country – by Jeff Goodell (Rolling Stone Magazine – November 29, 2010)

One balmy night this fall, a black BMW 750LI — a German luxury sedan that costs more than a typical coal miner makes in a year — pulls into the parking lot of the shaggy country club in Bluefield, West Virginia. Bluefield is a fading coal town in a state that is full of fading coal towns. Seventy-five years ago, when the Pocahontas coal seam was one of the richest veins in America, and tooling up for the 20th century required massive tonnage of coal, there was money here, and hope. But now the coal is mined out, the buildings downtown are vacant, and shiny new Beemers are about as common as flying saucers.

The driver — a young, tan, L.A.-surfer-boy type — jumps out and opens the rear door. A tall man, 60, with a thin mustache and a double chin emerges: Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, the largest and most powerful coal company in central Appalachia. He grabs his dark-blue suit jacket, which is folded on the tan leather seat beside him, and slips it on. He wears a red-and-yellow silk tie and tasseled leather loafers. His hands are chubby and white — no calluses, not a speck of coal dust. Accountant’s hands. His eyes are black and inexpressive.

Unless you live in West Virginia, you’ve probably never heard of Don Blankenship. You might not know that he grew up in the coal fields of West Virginia, received an accounting degree from a local college, and, through a combination of luck, hard work and coldblooded ruthlessness, transformed himself into the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the business and politics of energy in America today Continue Reading →

Author Ezra Levant on ‘ethical oil’ – by Trish Audette (Calgary Herald – November 27, 2011)

EDMONTON — In the days after the U.S. government made it clear expansion plans for the Keystone XL pipeline were on hold until at least 2013, energy experts, industry insiders, politicians and others wondered aloud where Canada’s international oilsands message had gone wrong.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, just weeks before a decision was delayed to better study environmental impacts, had called approval of Keystone XL a “no-brainer.” Canada’s message throughout the debates, studies and protests of the cross-border pipeline, designed to carry Alberta’s heavy oil across several states to Texas refineries, had been simple: Building Keystone XL would create thousands of American jobs and ensure a secure supply of oil from an “ethical” neighbour.

But amid a sea of hand-wringing and second-guessing, the conservative activist and author who first coined the term “ethical oil” stuck to his message. Writing a column for the Sun newspaper chain, the same media organization that televises his news show each day, Ezra Levant explained U.S. President Barack Obama had simply chosen “Saudi conflict oil” over friendly Canadian oil. Continue Reading →

Canada to argue ‘ethical’ oilsands at climate change talks – by Trish Audette (Calgary Herald – November 27, 2011)

EDMONTON — As world leaders gather in South Africa to discuss climate change this week and next, Canada’s environment minister says he plans to defend Alberta’s oilsands and is willing to argue they are an “ethical” and reliable energy source.

Heading into the 17th Conference of the Parties meeting, Environment Minister Peter Kent says he will not sign on to any deals that mandate some countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions while others don’t — as his government argues was the case under the Kyoto Protocol. He is also unequivocal in his defence of northern Alberta’s bitumen production, a position he expects will be supported by Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen when she joins him at the end of the week.

“We still need to — and the industry needs to and our provincial partners need to — be aggressive in ensuring international friends and neighbours and customers recognize Alberta’s heavy oil is no different from heavy oil produced in any number of other countries which don’t receive nearly the negative attention or criticism,” he says. “It is a legitimate resource.” Continue Reading →

Oil firms demand access to markets – by Dan Healing (Calgary Herald – November 26, 2011)

Regulatory reform urged in wake of pipeline delay

The leaders of two of Canada’s biggest investors in oilsands mining came out swinging at a business forum in Lake Louise, demanding that the country adopt regulatory reform and ensure market access in the wake of the U.S. delaying the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Murray Edwards, vice-chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., and Shell Canada president Lorraine Mitchelmore told the Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum on Friday that Canada is losing ground in the international marketplace.

Mitchelmore said the oil and gas sector has been complaining about red tape for years – and did so at the same forum six years ago – but nothing seems to get done. “We are the only major oil and gas exporting country in the world that does not have access to global markets. Continue Reading →

A reality check on Canadian mining in Africa -by Lucien Bradet (Embassy Magazine – November 23, 2011)

This column was first published by Embassy, Canada’s foreign policy newsweekly.

Lucien Bradet is president and CEO of the Canadian Council on Africa, which is dedicated to the economic development of Africa. CCAfrica is a private sector, member driven, non-profit organization. Members include companies such as IAMGold Corporation and Barrick Gold Corporation, government agencies such as the Canadian International Development Agency, and schools such as Concordia University.
It seems that every time you read or hear about Canadian mining in Africa, it’s negative toward the industry. But Canadian mining operations in Africa are providing jobs to local people and taxes, dividends and royalties to local governments.

It seems that every time you read or hear about Canadian mining in Africa, it prompts negative feelings in you, or you develop a negative opinion toward the industry. Why? Simply because everything you read is quite negative, you are dealing half-truths, an incomplete picture of the situation, misleading opinion and, most of all, the results of shabby research. Continue Reading →

The roots of inequality: Mining profits soar, but Africans are still poor – by Yao Graham (Embassy Magazine – November 14, 2011)

This column was first published by Embassy, Canada’s foreign policy newsweekly.

Yao Graham is the co-ordinator of Third World Network-Africa, a pan-African policy research and advocacy organization based in Accra, Ghana.

Profits have ballooned in recent years, but African states haven’t seen their fair share. It’s time to look beyond the woefully inadequate compensation of voluntary corporate social responsibility actions by mining firms in Africa.

In 2009, African heads of state adopted the African Mining Vision. Its key objective is the transformation of Africa’s mining sector into a catalyst of broad-based growth and development and a key component of a diversified, vibrant and globally competitive, industrializing African economy.

The vision foresees Africa moving away from being a source of unprocessed minerals, towards the production of value-added goods from its mineral resources. It also recognizes that the governance of Africa’s mining sector must improve. It must become more environmentally friendly, more inclusive in sharing its benefits, more socially responsible and be accepted by surrounding communities.

Continue Reading →

Webequie says its still open for Ring of Fire business – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – November 24, 2011)


This video was posted on You Tube by the Matawa First Nations on November 7, 2011. It is about the Ring Of Fire development and effects on the communities of the Matawa First Nations in Northwestern Ontario. While this You Tube posting is not connected to the Webequie article, it does provide some background content and puts the recent Matawa political opposition to the Ring of Fire in perspective. – Stan Sudol

Wawatay News is Northern Ontario’s First Nation Voice with offices in Sioux Lookout, Timmins and Thunder Bay.

Rifts in the Matawa First Nations’ opposition to mining in the Ring of Fire were on display Nov. 23 as Webequie First Nation held a press conference to announce that Matawa does not speak for the people the community.

Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse presented a community position statement calling for companies interested in developing the Ring of Fire to negotiate directly with the community, not through organizations such as Matawa.

“Matawa Tribal Council is not a decision-making authority for Webequie First Nation, Wabasse said. “Webequie will determine our own community-led process to guide industry, government and commercial groups through the process of working collaboratively.” Continue Reading →

Study of second proposed Ring of Fire mine underway – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – November 18, 2011)

Wawatay News is Northern Ontario’s First Nation Voice with offices in Sioux Lookout, Timmins and Thunder Bay.

As the controversy over the environmental study of a proposed Ring of Fire mine drags on, another proposed mine in the Ring of Fire has started a similar environmental assessment process. The environmental assessment for Noront Resources’ proposed Eagles Nest mine kicked off Nov. 15 with the opening of a 30-day public comment period.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) decided to do a comprehensive study, the same process chosen for Cliffs Natural Resources’ proposed chromite mine.

CEAA spokesperson Celine Legault said that the agency determined there was no need for the Noront project to be subjected to a more intensive Joint Review Panel (JRP) assessment. “At any time during the study the (federal) minister of environment can refer the assessment to a Joint Review Panel,” Legault said. Continue Reading →

Congo’s plethora of resources translates only to misery – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 26, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Amid the biggest boom in the history of the copper market, the country with the richest reserves heads to the polls in two days with almost nothing but misery to show for it.

Monday’s election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should be a joyful event: It is only the country’s second democratic election since 1960, and the first that is being run without massive support from the international community.

Unfortunately, the DRC remains a test case for a country that has failed to benefit from its tremendous natural resources. Despite an estimated US$24-trillion of mineral wealth, poverty is still at unacceptable levels: The Congo recently ranked last among 187 countries in a human-development report from the United Nations. Sectarian violence and rape remain commonplace in the eastern part of the country, and the government has come under fire for alleged corruption and mismanagement. The election has shone a light on these issues, but analysts worry about violent outbreaks no matter who wins. Continue Reading →